Summit Program Committee

This group of 11 fantastic FCAA members will serve on the 2018 AIDS Philanthropy Summit Committee, responsible for reviewing the Call for Sessions submissions, as well as providing guidance on the development of the overall Summit agenda.


Taryn Barker is the HIV Manager at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Previously, she was the Director of Viral Hepatitis at the Clinton Health Access Initiative and has worked in HIV, SRH and international health in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean for the last ten years, after transitioning from the private sector.

Heather Benjamin works as a program officer focused on financing for health and rights at Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program. She advocates for global health financing for rights-based and community-led responses for sex workers, people who use drugs, and LGBTI communities. As a grantmaker, she supports community participation and advocacy in health financing decision-making spaces. Prior to joining OSF, Heather worked on gender-based violence as a community organizer and service provider. Heather served as the program director of Close to Home, a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to preventing and reducing the impact of violence through community mobilization. She developed programming alongside community organizers to implement neighbor-to-neighbor responses for those experiencing and using violence and worked to shift social norms that perpetuate violence through conversation, art, and peer-led training.

Nina Blackwell joined the Firelight Foundation as Executive Director in July 2015. Nina comes to the Firelight Foundation from Humanity United, a leading human rights foundation, which is part of the Omidyar Group of philanthropies. As Senior Strategic Advisor and Head of External Affairs at Humanity United, Nina led the Communications, Policy, and Partnerships teams to support and leverage the organization’s strategic work in the prevention of conflict, mass atrocities and modern slavery. Prior to joining Humanity United, Nina spent several years at Yahoo!, Inc., where she led two global teams as Senior Director of Americas Communications and Senior Director of Global Public Affairs. In the latter role, Nina was responsible for developing global communications across a broad range of issues including privacy, data governance, online safety, human rights and freedom of expression. Nina joined Yahoo! after seven years working for U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, first as Special Advisor and then as Press Secretary and Spokesperson. Her work with Senator Clinton began in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks and spanned the successful 2006 Senate reelection campaign and the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

Crystal D. Crawford is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation where she currently manages grantmaking related to diversity in the health professions; women of color at risk for, or living with, HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections; and employment for women who have been incarcerated. Her responsibilities include reviewing letters of interest, requesting and evaluating grant proposals, conducting site visits, making funding recommendations and monitoring active grants. Prior to joining Cal Wellness in August 2012, Crawford was CEO of the California Black Women’s Health Project (CABWHP), the only statewide organization solely devoted to improving the health of California’s black women and girls through policy, advocacy, education and outreach. Prior to her role as CEO, she was CABWHP’s director of public policy. Before working in the nonprofit, public interest sector, Crawford was a litigation associate with nationally renowned corporate law firms in Los Angeles, Boston and New York, as well as a public school teacher. Crawford is actively involved in the leadership of numerous civic and community organizations. She serves as vice chairperson of the Los Angeles County Public Health Commission and as a member of the Women’s Health Policy Council for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Office of Women’s Health. She served on the executive committee of the Women’s Health Council of the statewide Office of Women’s Health (OWH) until its elimination in July 2012. She serves on the board of the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth, which provides students with public policy and leadership development, academic instruction, training opportunities and internships. She is also an officer of her church in Inglewood, where she directs the provision of $50,000 annually in college scholarships to youth and young adults in South Los Angeles. In 1997, she founded and continues to direct College Conquerors, her church’s undergraduate pipeline program that provides youth with college preparation and counseling services. She previously served on the boards of the Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, Health Access California and SisterSong and on the advisory council for the California Breast Cancer Research Program. Crawford is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2009 Advocates’ Award from the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the 2012 PowerPAC Award from the Los Angeles African American Women’s Political Action Committee. Originally from Harlem, New York, Crawford earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College and law degree from New York University School of Law. She is admitted to the bar in California, New York and New Jersey.

Lindsey Dawson is Associate Director of HIV Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Ms. Dawson’s work focuses on domestic HIV policy and particularly its intersection with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ms. Dawson also focuses on LGBT health policy issues related to access and coverage. Prior to joining the Foundation Ms. Dawson was a Policy Associate with The AIDS Institute, where she worked on domestic HIV policy and the ACA. Ms. Dawson holds a Masters in Public Policy from King’s College London and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Smith College.

Jason Grisell is the President and CEO of the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis. He most recently served as vice president of programs. Grisell came to the organization as an executive assistant in 2008. During his eight years in the programs department, he directed more than $15 million in grants and funding for health-related services to Indiana’s most vulnerable populations. Grisell obtained his MBA from WGU and holds his certificate in fundraising management from The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis’ mission is to serve the community’s most vulnerable citizens by funding health-related projects and organizations not easily supported by other means. Formed in 1985 from the sale of Indiana’s first non-profit health maintenance organization, Metro Health HMO, the foundation is home to the Indiana AIDS Fund and Gregory R. Powers Direct Emergency Financial Assistance Fund. True to its mission, The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis took a leadership role in prevention, education, and needle exchange services in 2015 in response to an exponential rise in newly diagnosed HIV cases in rural Indiana counties.

Shanell McGoy. Dr. Shanell L. McGoy is a Senior Manager, Public Affairs at Gilead where she oversees the programmatic efforts of the Gilead COMPASS InitiativeTM.  Prior to joining Gilead, Shanell was the Director of HIV/STD at the Tennessee Department of Health from 2013-2018 where she led state and federal resources to support a comprehensive HIV/STD service delivery system throughout Tennessee.  Shanell has more than 15 years of public health experience in both rural and urban areas across the country.  She has worked in community based organizations, local, state, and federal government public health agencies.  She received a B.A. in Comparative Women’s Studies from Spelman College and a MPH in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health.  She also received a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  Following her doctoral studies, Dr. McGoy completed a Post-Doctoral Health Policy Leadership Fellowship at The Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine.  She previously served on the Boards of the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) and NASTAD.

Ria Pugeda is a Senior Program Officer at the Consumer Health Foundation. She is responsible for the Foundation’s grantmaking and capacity-building programs and has been with the Foundation since 2011. She is a member of the Healthy Communities Working Group of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and represents the Foundation on the Steering Committees of the Washington AIDS Partnership, Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, Grantmakers Income Security Task Force and the Funders Concerned About AIDS’ Program Committee. Previously, she served as a program staff member at the Public Welfare Foundation with a focus on advocacy for health care reform and reproductive and sexual health issues. She also worked at the Eastern Office of the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center.

Eric Saddik currently serves as a Project Manager for Kaiser Permanente’s National Community Health Department. He manages operations and systems concerning national grants and sponsorships, in-line with national company initiatives. Previous to that, he served at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation as a community educator and organizer, and facilitated special projects for the leadership team and Board of Directors. His diverse background spans varied non-profit and for-profit sub-sectors, and includes volunteer leadership building LGBTQ+ communities locally and nationally.

Kristina Wertz joined Funders for LGBTQ Issues as the Director of Engagement in 2013. She has a deep commitment to social justice with over a decade of experience advocating for LGBTQ communities as an attorney and policy advocate. Kristina’s track record includes litigating a number of groundbreaking transgender rights cases and expanding legislative protections for transgender and gender nonconforming people in California. Most recently, as Director of Policy and Programs at the Transgender Law Center (TLC), Kristina lead multidisciplinary advocacy and movement building programs focused on healthcare access and economic justice. She also served as TLC’s Legal Director, litigating cases regarding identity documents, employment discrimination, access to public institutions and student safety. Kristina has conducted countless law and policy trainings for LGBTQ community members, employers, attorneys, social service providers, healthcare providers and other audiences. Prior to her role at TLC, Kristina practiced as a civil rights litigator, focusing on employment discrimination and housing rights. Kristina was named a “Top Lawyer Under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association in 2011. She is a graduate of New York University and Brooklyn Law School. Kristina is a proud San Francisco native (and SF Giants fan) who also calls New York home. She lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn with her girlfriend, Kara Desiderio, an advocate for healthcare access, and their tiny dog Lionel.

Rye Young is the Executive Director of the Third Wave Fund. He began his career as an abortion fund hotline intern when the organization was known as Third Wave Foundation. Rye served in various program roles at Third Wave, and dedicated himself to developing systems for impact measurement and grantmaking, while crafting programs that met the needs of Third Wave’s grassroots, community-based organizations. Rye strives towards a gender justice movement that is strong and interconnected across other social justice movements. He is passionate about expanding opportunities for communities who are most affected by oppression yet remain marginalized in our movements and in philanthropy. Rye currently serves on the Board of Directors of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and the Groundswell Fund and was a past board member of the New York Abortion Access Fund. He was a Grace Paley Organizing Fellow with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and he graduated from Bard College in 2008 with a B.A. in Arabic Language, Culture, and Literature.